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Ben-Hur

  • Drama
  • 1959
  • William Wyler
  • 213 mins
  • PG

Summary

A Jewish prince in first-century Jerusalem is reunited with an old Roman friend, who is now the governor of Judea. However, their differing political views over local dissent leads to a bitter quarrel, and the governor uses the pretext of an accident to sell him into slavery and imprison his mother and sister. Years later, the prince returns, determined to seek revenge and find his missing family. Oscar-winning epic, starring Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd and Haya Harareet.

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Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Back in 1959, this epic was the most costly movie ever made. Charlton Heston won his only best actor Oscar as the chariot-driving, galley-rowing Jewish nobleman who takes all that the Roman Empire can throw at him, thanks to his traitorous boyhood friend Messala (Stephen Boyd). Some critics believe that William Wyler's box-office smash is no match for the 1925 silent version, but there's no denying that the chariot race that forms the famous climax is one of the most iconic sequences in Hollywood history - a thousand-strong force toiled for a year to construct the 18-acre arena, which was eventually filled with 8,000 extras. The film, in all, used over 300 sets, 40,000 tons of sand (for the chariot track) and swept up a record 11 Oscars, a total that was equalled in 1998 by James Cameron's Titanic and in 2004 by Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

How to watch

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Credits

Cast

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Judah Ben-HurCharlton Heston
MessalaStephen Boyd
EstherHaya Harareet
Quintus ArriusJack Hawkins
Sheik IlderimHugh Griffith
MiriamMartha Scott
TirzahCathy O'Donnell
Pontius PilateFrank Thring
SimonidesSam Jaffe
BalthasarFinlay Currie
DrususTerence Longdon
TiberiusGeorge Relph
MalluchAdi Berber
JosephLaurence Payne
SextusAndré Morell
ChristClaude Heater
MaryJose Greci

Crew

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DirectorWilliam Wyler

Details

Language
English
Guidance
Some violence.
Available on
video, DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Colour
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